Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is auditing formwork activities in the wake of several recent incidents which have highlighted the need for safer construction and use of formwork systems.
The audits will assess compliance with the Formwork Code of Practice 2016 ((PDF, 1.32 MB)) and consist of two stages:
- a desktop audit of formwork documentation
- an audit of the formwork structure and documented formwork systems, including the inspection of erected formwork systems and safe work practices.
The code of practice has a strong focus on formwork design, planning, inspections, safe systems of work, formwork erection and training for workers. It requires a robust system of pre-pour inspections and signoffs by engineers or a competent person to minimise the risk of injury to workers from formwork collapse or failure.
This is a state-wide audit campaign targeting employers whose business involves formwork construction activities, formwork designers and engineers, formwork contractors and principal contractors.
Preparing your workplace
You should review your work practices to ensure your workplace complies with the Formwork Code of Practice 2016. Inspectors will be looking to ensure compliance in the areas listed below.
- Documentation – All formwork documentation, pre-pour inspections and signoffs, formwork systems and associated components, and site erection methods should accord with the Formwork Code of Practice 2016 and be readily available on site. This includes project and formwork engineer drawings, specifications and engineer certifications.
- Inspection – A robust and thorough site inspection regime should be carried out on formwork systems, materials and components, with a focus on defective materials, poor welding practices and erection of structural components that are not as per site drawings.
- Modular proprietary formwork systems – Systems should be used in line with the manufacturer’s instructions and mixing and matching of these systems avoided.
- Bracing – There should be adequate bracing, in particular for frames, frame extensions and propping.
- Defective material – Materials should be inspected prior to leaving the yard and damaged gear should be isolated and not delivered to site. This includes broken components, timbers with rot or excessive nail holes and components with missing parts.
- Erection and dismantling procedures – Systems of work and erection procedures should be in accordance with safe work method statements for the work activities, including fall from height controls and provisions for falling objects.
- Other trade workers – Consultation between formworkers and other workers should occur prior to sign-off and handover. Edge protection should be in place, penetrations covered, safe access provided and a formwork zone set up to separate workers.
- Access and egress – Stretcher stairs should be the primary access to the formwork deck whenever it is possible. There should be two points of emergency access at all times and specific access requirements should be in place for slip and jump forms.
- Stacked materials – Specific engineer documentation should be available to verify the loads applied to the formwork deck before formwork and other materials are loaded onto the deck. Crane and load handling systems should be suitable. Stacked materials and the use of certified storage racks or restraining methods should be taken into consideration.
- Lifting – All lifting points on formwork wall shutters or columns should be verified by an engineer in writing and wind loadings considered.
- Training of workers – Workers should be provided with all relevant training, information and supervision relating to the system they are erecting, including specific training for modular formwork systems.
More information is at worksafe.qld.gov.au